Sunday, March 16, 2008

Our struggle will go on, despite the crackdown

The Independent[Monday, March 17, 2008 07:44]
Tsering Topgyal
The riots can be seen in the light of a quiet child finally fighting back against the playground bully

In the biggest protests since 1989, Tibetans are rising up. Lhasa is tense but quiet under virtual martial law. However, protests and riots have spread to Labrang and Machu, Repkong and Ngapa in the Tibetan province of Amdo (Gansu, Qinghai and Sichuan respectively), Lithang in Kham province (Sichuan) and Phenpo in TAR. Some protests turned violent and the death toll varies, but it is rising as the protests spread.

In one sense, it is not sudden. Even in the heavily censored blogs and other popular media from Tibet, there has been a sense that something angry was brewing. The Dalai Lama's exile, the future of the Tibetan nation and identity in the face of perceived Chinese political and cultural imperialism are lamented in various media at great risk. Tibetans have dealt with political hopelessness and cultural depression by escaping into exile, alcoholism and, in the case of the young poet-scholar, Dhondup Gyal, suicide.

Since 1989, China has implemented a hard-line set of policies towards Tibetans inside Tibet and towards the Dalai Lama. The hard-line faction within Chinese officialdom pressed for ruthless suppression of dissent and unbridled economic development, ostensibly to buy Tibetan loyalty. It is waiting for the Tibetan issue to die with the septuagenarian Dalai Lama and has sidelined the moderate faction that argued for engagement with him. These protests show that the hard-line policy has managed neither to intimidate Tibetans nor to win their loyalty...

The protests do not, however, entirely negate the Dalai Lama's approach. Just as the Burmese monks pressured the military junta to negotiate with Aung San Suu Kyi, the Tibetan protests strengthen the Dalai Lama's negotiating position. Full Article Link

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